In the last decade, customer service on social media has become the bread that holds your business sandwich together. Mainstream social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and especially Twitter are not just social media marketing channels but have also become major outlets for users to post their experiences in a public forum. This means that one negative comment can snowball through public perception into your brand’s entire image. Even the largest brands shudder at the potential.
Therefore, effectively monitoring and managing the situation on Twitter has become a critical aspect of customer service in the 21st century. Twitter’s analysis of their users reveals how much the platform has evolved into a customer service outlet. You can’t eat a sandwich without bread – you can’t expect to reap the benefits of modern word-of-mouth marketing without engaging on the platform where that marketing happens.
Here’s how to use Twitter to respond to customers, benefit from feedback, and give your brand an edge in the next decade.
A Quick Response is a Profitable One
The public discourse on Twitter changes quickly. Negative comments about your business become more damaging the longer they fester. Prompt responses do two things for your customer experience: they reassure the individual customer and improve your brand’s image on Twitter as a whole.
According to Twitter, customers expect a response within an hour of complaining. That doesn’t give your customer service team much time. However, your brand’s response time translates directly to customer satisfaction.
Along those lines, don’t be afraid of negative feedback. A quick response to complaints boosts your customers’ confidence in your brand. Even customers that complain can become return buyers if they believe that your company cares.
The Advantage of Publicity
Twitter’s public discourse may seem like a dark shadow falling over your brand image at first. However, the app’s public nature can be your greatest asset. Your audiences can see in real-time how you deal with customer service issues. This places your brand in an advantageous position where Twitter becomes the engine that powers your entire image.
By dealing with complaints publicly and promptly, businesses also reassure prospective customers that they take their customer service seriously. Your social media manager should be retweeting praise for your business to boost your reputation with the accolades you choose to own.
You should use the value of publicity to your advantage even when your Twitter customer support team responds to complaints privately through Twitter’s direct message service. Publicly shout out that customer afterward, thanking them for being understanding and willing to be helped. That turns a public complaint into an ad for your customer service.
Devote Space to your Customers
If your are using your company’s main Twitter handle (account) to respond to complaints, you’re not fighting the battle with all the right tools. Devote a separate handle to your customer service on Twitter to tell your customers that you care about their voice enough to devote an entire account to them.
For instance, post regularly through @LightspanD but respond to customer service queries through @lightspanhelp. This gives you a dedicated Twitter dashboard to keep track of all your complaints and organize your responses.
Even signing the customer service representative’s name to Tweets that address customer complaints tells them that you’re devoting time and space to their concerns. It makes the interaction personal, which in turn makes your company human and accessible.
Know the Value of a Friendly Tone
According to Twitter’s own research, customers are 25% more likely to be satisfied with a company if the customer service takes a friendly tone, rather than an automated one. This increases the likelihood that people will see public discourse from satisfied customers. It gives them a reason to recommend your brand.
Adopting a friendly, helpful tone in your service interactions has proven results for your brand’s image. Convincing customers that they’re speaking with a human who cares about their satisfaction, rather than an automated robot, goes a long way to improving Twitter interactions.
The Art of the Follow-Up
Here’s something many brands don’t do at all – following up with your customers to ensure that you resolved their complaints. Remember that Twitter is live and public and ridiculously accessible. Your customers could come back at any time and kick up a fuss over your customer service if they weren’t delighted.
Customers recommend brands that follow-up with them. A simple DM to ensure that they’re satisfied with the service they received can do wonders for their next interaction with your company. After all that work trying to make them satisfied, you want to make sure it sticks!
Use Twitter’s Features to your Advantage
Twitter itself comes with tools you can use to improve your customer service strategy. You can track mentions and hashtags through your customer service handle, enable Twitter notifications, and save queries surrounding your brand name. You want updates of these mentions in real-time, so you can respond quickly and professionally. Remember – you have one hour!
Make sure to search for misspellings of your company’s name as well. Twitter has its own guide to customer service on its platform that you should take the time to read.
The Takeaway for Businesses
Using Twitter for customer service comes down to three basic principles:
- respond to requests quickly,
- monitor mentions (negative and positive), and
- try to be as personal and human as possible.
Today, customers are used to the disappointment of auto-responses by a bot. They go onto a platform like Twitter to express their complaints, expecting to be let down.
Your job is to make them feel catered to so that they recommend your brand. Remember, their positive engagement is a result of a positive experience. Twitter should be a formal part of your strategy to give them one.